“Perseverance and the Cross”
Pastor David Moore
Old Testament reading: Job 1:8-22
Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
“Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan replied. “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. But now stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face.”
The Lord said to Satan, “Very well, then, everything he has is in your power, but on the man, himself do not lay a finger.”
Then Satan went out from the presence of the Lord.
One day when Job’s sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, and the Sabeans attacked and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The fire of God fell from the heavens and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and made off with them. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, “Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother’s house, when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!”
At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
Theme: what does it mean to rejoice in the midst of suffering? We will look at the interplay of suffering, endurance and the cross and how it will build these character traits in our heart as a Christian.
New Testament reading: Romans 5:1-10
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!
Out of suffering comes the serious mind; out of salvation, the grateful heart; out of endurance, fortitude; out of deliverance faith. Patient endurance attends to all things. ~Teresa of Avila
In nearly every psalm where David pours out his heart during pain, grief, trials, and struggles but he still concludes the psalm with praising God and giving Him glory.
Christianity versus stoicism?
Paul does not say Christians rejoice for suffering; he says they rejoice in them. “Nobody knows the trouble I have seen; nobody knows but Jesus…” ~D. Moore
People are not prepared or able to rejoice in suffering unless they experience a massive biblical revolution of how they think and feel about the meaning of life. Human nature and American culture make it impossible to rejoice in suffering. This is a miracle in the human soul wrought by God through His Word. ~John Piper
Christians do suffer: A perfect person (Jesus) suffered and experienced the world like us. Which means as faith is perfected in our life, we become more perfect like our Savior. We believe the less self absorbed you are, the more you know you are loved, the more acceptable you are, the more holy you are, the less we need to defend ourselves from the reality of our life. ~D. Moore
Ezekiel 36:26: Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove that heart of stone from your flesh and I will give you a heart of flesh.
Suffering actually enhances your joy. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, not only so but we also rejoice in our suffering, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance produces character; and Christ’s hope. ~D. Moore
1 Peter 5:10: And the God of all grace, who calls you to His eternal glory in Christ after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.
If we are patient, then comes character, character means we have been refined more completely. ~D. Moore
Proverbs 17:3: “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests hearts.”
There is only one hope that will survive a great fire in our lives. Our love for Jesus and His love for us. When fire comes the fire brings out what is deep in our soul. It refines our hope and our sense of self, and we become happy, more complete, and full of purpose. ~D. Moore
This week think about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as they literally were in the fire and Jesus was with them. Jesus is with us in our moments of fire and Jesus stands firm with us.
God bless, have a great week!